Make Switching From Windows To Linux Easier With Zorin OS

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switch from windows to linuxDespite the many reasons why people preach the use of Linux, actually going through with the switch is a completely different story. I know this only too well as I went through the exact same process before everything came together and I fell in love with Linux. However, I have to admit that it took a while with numerous attempts at using Linux for more than a week.

It’s not that Linux is hard to use or understand, but it simply doesn’t fit the Windows mindset that most people have. Expecting to do everything in Linux exactly like in Windows is where problems start appearing, which can easily deter a good number of users. Thankfully, there is now a Linux distribution that could make the process a whole lot easier.

About Zorin OS

Zorin OS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, but besides identical packages and base system there are some major differences between the two. One of the major goals of Zorin OS is to offer a user interface that is similar to that of Windows, making Windows users feel more comfortable when they use Zorin OS. I must say that Zorin OS does a pretty good job with it.

Downloading

You can download the ISO for Zorin OS by going to this page and downloading their “Core” ISO. The developers also offer lite and educational variations for you to download, but in most cases you’ll have the better experience with just the core. This review will focus on the Core edition.

Additionally you’ll find a Premium page where they offer you Ultimate, Business, Multimedia, and Gaming editions, which is mostly just the Core software with many additional applications for that type of system. The effort it takes to put all those extra programs into the ISO is why they charge for those editions.

Once you have your downloaded ISO burned onto a CD, written to USB, or ready to go for VirtualBox, you can boot straight into the live environment. Loading shouldn’t take very long, and in no time you’ll be presented with the Zorin OS desktop.

Desktop

switch from windows to linux
As you might recognize, the default look for Zorin OS mimics Windows 7 quite well. There are only a couple of shortcuts found on the desktop, and in the taskbar you’ll find the Start menu on the left (with Zorin OS branding, of course), the icon tray on the right, and then in the middle you’ll find the cool looking buttons that show which programs are currently open (do those even have a technical name?). Overall, it looks very much like Windows 7, which is very impressive.

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Start Menu

windows to linux
If you actually click on the Start menu, you’ll see a lot more Windows 7-esque goodness. The Start menu, which appears to be GnoMenu with an appropriate theme, looks extremely similar to Windows 7’s Start menu. Keeping a small Linux touch, however, all programs in the left side of the menu are organized into the regular categories that regular Linux users are familiar with. There is also no “Recent Programs” list as is in Windows 7.

Look Changer

windows to linux
So all this stuff that looks a lot like Windows 7 is great for someone coming from Windows, right? Well what if they’re trying out Linux because Windows XP is starting to become very dated for an operating system? No need to worry there either. In the Control Center, there is a button called Look Changer, which will open a new window where you can choose between a Windows 7, Windows XP, and regular Linux Gnome desktop. With Windows XP available too, switching to Zorin OS is even easier for more people.

Default Applications

switch from windows to linux
Zorin OS also comes with some pretty interesting default applications. Instead of Firefox as the default browser as is the case in all major distributions, Zorin OS chose Chrome in part due to its ever-increasing popularity. Many will enjoy this, while those that don’t will simply need to install their browser of choice. Not a hard thing to do. Zorin OS also includes Nautilus Elementary over Nautilus, which offers a tweaked user interface for a cleaner look. As for everything else, the usual applications that you would expect are included.

Conclusion

This interesting Linux distribution has some great incentives for Windows users to try out the Linux side of computing. Aside from all the differences between itself and Ubuntu, the rest is business as usual, letting you get work done like a pro.

What do you think about Zorin OS? Is it the best way for Windows users to try Linux? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments (25)
  • ozzy

    who farted on the dog?

  • MerVzter Balacuit

    linux sometimes is bad if without internet connection…

  • JJ Avila

    I have been using Zorin OS 5.2 since March 2012. I must admit this operating system does give the user a Windows-like experience. The desktop environment was easy to navigate being a long time Windows user. Since I liked Zorin OS, I upgraded to Zorin OS 6 when it was released.

    I currently have Zorin OS running on three different computers. Installation seemed to be an issue for me. I had an old Gateway laptop I bought back in 2004 that originally had Windows XP and decided to replace it with Zorin OS. When installing Zorin OS 6 32-bit on my old laptop, I was getting the following message during install — “This kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU: pae. Unable to boot — please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.” With some tinkering, I was able to make another ISO that had a non-pae kernel. The second computer I installed Zorin had no issues (go figure). The third computer was a 64-bit install and I had issues with my NVIDIA graphics card. During the installation process on this computer, the screen would turn white displaying jumbled graphics and it looked like the installation process froze. However, this computer had onboard graphics installed on it and I simply went into the BIOS and told the computer to use the onboard graphics instead NVIDIA; and then I was able to install Zorin OS. Once installed, I was able to load the necessary drivers for my video card and all was well.

    Overall, I would recommend to give Zorin OS a try. You can try the live DVD for awhile and take Zorin OS for a test drive, then if you like it install it to your hard drive. Having used Zorin OS for about four months, it has re-introduced me back into the Linux/Ubuntu world of computing. Windows 7 is still my primary operating system of choice and I consider Zorin OS my secondary choice.

  • wei2912

    “In the middle you’ll find the cool looking buttons that show which programs are currently open (do those even have a technical name?)” – Windows list? :D

  • gary

    Hi,
    I have tried many linux distros in the past and was very disappointed with the difficulty of install and operation. but recently I decided to try again with Zorin OS 5.2 after I saw a youtube review. WOW , WOW, WOW, what a difference ! it installed with minimum questions and installed rather quickly. straight forward, easy !! Zorin OS 5.2 is quick, faster than windows 7 and lightyears ahead of windows 8 which I have been testing for 6 months. I installed zorin OS 6 Release Candidate and like it even better. will definitely get the ultimate version when it becomes available. est cost less than $20.00. Microsoft has abandoned my os for the last time, winxp will not be supported for very long and then you will have to buy their new OS but beware it will probably not run on your existing machine, Zorin WILL !

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.